7 Facts You Might Not Know About Swim Smooth

For those of you who have followed Swim Smooth from the very beginning, thank you for all your support over the years. You would think you would know us pretty well after a 15 year relationship but this week on the blog we wanted to surprise you and share a few things from our history that you may not know.

1. "Steam Boat Willie"

Sometime in the 1980s, swimming at Bridlington swimming club in the UK, a young Paul Newsome was given the nickname 'Steam Boat Willie' by his club coach. This was due to the high cadence and naturally punchy style of his stroke compared to some of the taller swimmers in the clubs with more powerful kicks.

At the time he was not aware of the power of his swinger stroke style for long distance and open water swimming but those very early seeds of "perhaps not everyone should swim the same way" were sown.

Paul Newsome as a young 'Steam Boat Willie'. 

2. Swim Smooth was nearly called Swim Clean or even Swim Fresh!

Swim Clean?! No it wouldn't have been the same would it? The idea was to "clean up your stroke technique" - a notion we gave to the very first Swim Smooth product, the DVD boxset:

3. Swim Smooth might have been born in Australia but our strongest support base has always been the UK

A little strange this one, although Paul Newsome originally set up Swim Smooth in Australia in 2004, we've always had the most interest in what we do from the UK. This culminated in British Triathlon asking us to re-write their coaching curriculum for swimming, an association we are very proud of and allows us to influence thousands of coaches across the UK.

Swim Smooth is based here in Perth... (lucky us)

4. The Model For Mr Smooth

In 2009, when we launched our Mr Smooth animation we modelled him on the classic smooth swim stroke of Australian Olympian Jono Van Hazel. Check out Jono Van Hazel's stroke for yourself and compare it to the stroke you see on our Mr Smooth app.

Here's a rarely seen interview Paul conducted with Jono just after filming:

The mighty Jono Van Hazel - the smoothest swimmer of them all?

5. Swim Types

The initial development of the Swim Types methodology started to take form in 2008. In order to acquire enough evidence and case studies for each type, it wasn't formally released until 2010.

We launched the system on our very first Coach-Ed course in 2010 (of which we've now run 35 editions to over 600 coaches around the world):
The class of 2010 - Aston University, UK

6. Swim Smooth's Mini-Olympics

In 2010, thinking that his Perth squad would enjoy and benefit from being taught to swim all 4 strokes and focus a little more on some sprinting, Head Coach Paul Newsome organised a "mini-Olympics" for his squad of (then) 200 swimmers.

After a 10 week dedicated program focusing on these events, only 7 people showed up for the final competition. A corner was turned - Swim Smooth would focus on what we do best - distance freestyle for pool, triathlon and open water swimming.

7. Swim Smooth vs. Total Immersion

Historically considered key competitors, SS Head Coach Paul Newsome and TI Head Coach Terry Laughlin only ever met each other once - glamorously enough in the men's lavatories at the 220 Triathlon Show in the UK in 2013!

You'll be pleased to know that some pleasantries were exchanged as Paul left the toilets as Terry was heading in. Paul has since helped Japanese TI Coach Shinji Takeuchi improve his rhythm and fluidity for better open water swimming after the two met at the Rottnest Channel Swim in 2015:

So now we've shared a few moments (some more embarrassing than others) at Swim Smooth, we hope you feel you know us a little better and continue to support us for another 15 years and beyond!

Swim Smooth!


Jonas said...

I am a fan of Paul Newsome. I think his style at the pool is not the one of a swinger, but of a smooth !!
Yes, Jono has the best smooth stroke I've ever seen. Amazing.
I discovered Total Immersion (TI) before Swim Smooth. TI has a series of good points, as relaxing in the water (in the pool I see many swimmers kind of fighting with the water, even if they go quite fast) but also some weaknesses (the pause at the front of the stroke). So, all in all, I prefer Swim Smooth. TI, though, has the advantage of also teaching butterfly, backstroke and breaststroke, and the tumbleturns.

Unknown said...

What are the differences between TI and Swim Smooth other than “patient arm”?

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